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Rivah Visitor's Guide

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Urbanna Seafood and Raw Bar could turn you into a fish eater

Urbanna Seafood and Raw Bar

by Madison White Franks

Urbanna Seafood and Raw Bar is a popular hotspot for anything seafood.

My husband Taylor and I decided to go one dreary Saturday afternoon to get our fix of some delicious seafood.

The restaurant overlooks Robinson Creek which flows into the Rappahannock River. Facilities include a small inside seating area as well as many picnic tables outside. Customers wishing to try the restaurant can come by land or water.

Family-owned, Urbanna Seafood and Raw Bar is an additional business to Shores and Ruark Seafood which was established in 1976 on the Chesapeake Bay. The business’ mission, like most Chesapeake Bay seafood businesses, is primarily to shuck oysters, shed soft shell crabs and hand-pick blue crabs.

Despite the many signs on the way to the restaurant, when we arrived and were parked in the parking lot, we were unsure if we were in the right place. The seafood market and raw bar is located down the dock where they likely clean and prepare the seafood.

We could immediately smell the mouth-watering aroma of seafood and seasonings.

It was cloudy, chilly and rainy, so we had to sit inside the small seating area with four large tables and window seating overlooking the creek.

Our waitress, Alexandra, told us that we could sit anywhere we wanted and then came to take our drink order—sweet tea.

When choosing food, I always debate what I want so it took me a while to make a selection. We chose the Spicy Tugboat Dip appetizer, described on the menu as a secret recipe with fresh crabmeat, shrimp, and a spicy kick. It was served with slices of pita bread and jalapeños on top of the dip. It was very good and indeed packed a spicy kick, but neither Taylor or I ate the jalapeños.

Taylor is not a seafood person (he really loathes the taste of fish) so I advised him to venture out and choose their Pick-a-Fish entree, a fresh filet of your choice fried, pan-seared, or blackened. You can pick one of their house-made sauces: cocktail, tartar, remoulade, lemon-caper butter, pineapple salsa, or honey ginger soy. I suggested he try the salmon. My favorite.  I consider salmon to be the less “fishy” of the options: swordfish, trout, tuna, and others. He ordered pan-seared salmon with pineapple salsa and sides of potato salad and hushpuppies.

Taylor said his entree was cooked perfectly, it had great flavor, and for the first time, he did not hate eating fish.

He also complimented the potato salad as one of the best he had sampled in a while. He was even able to keep to his gluten free diet. While they do not advertise any gluten free meals, there were plenty of options to choose from.

I was craving scallops. My choices were either three or six plump scallops, so I tried three—pan-seared. The scallops were perfectly cooked and came with melted butter for dipping. They were definitely plump and satisfied my cravings.

On the raw-bar menu, there are options to accommodate servings for two, including a shrimp boil bucket, steamed crabs and oysters. I chose the shrimp boil bucket that came with spiced shrimp perfectly seasoned, potatoes, sausage and cobs of corn. When placing my order, I was unsure if it would come in a bucket—it did. The presentation was perfect for a seafood market. There was a sizable amount of shrimp and just enough sides to make it a hearty meal. It came with melted butter for dipping and I asked for cocktail sauce because that’s another favorite. I even had almost a full “bucket” of leftovers to enjoy the next day.

All of the seafood was market-price, which could fluctuate, but overall our meal was a great value.

Although it’s tucked away, you’ll know you’re in the right place when you’ve tasted the food. Combined with the wonderful view, it’s worth the trip.

If you go
Urbanna Seafood & Raw Bar

453 Johnsons Dr., Urbanna, VA

Tues: 11am–3pm
Wed. – Sat: 11am-8pm
Sun: 12–5pm

On the Menu

Did you know?
At Shores and Ruark Seafood, take a peek at softshell crab beds where peeler crabs are in the process of
shedding their shells. 

posted 05.25.2017

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